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Trek 620 with rusty top tube - need suggestions please

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Trek 620 with rusty top tube - need suggestions please

Old 03-20-11, 08:38 PM
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Trek 620 with rusty top tube - need suggestions please

I picked up a 1985 Trek 620 that is in good shape except for paint blisters around the top tube cable guides and under the top tube. The spots under the tube are about 1 1/2 inch long and bubbling out away from the frame.

I guess I'll have to sand or dremel them down to the surface and treat with oxalic acid. How thick of walls does 531 tubing usually have? I'm concerned these might have gone as far as pin holes under the paint but I guess I'll find that out. Any suggestions/cautions on how to work them off? What kind of dremel attachment should I use?

I don't want to soak the frame so can I make a paste to brush on? If so how long would you leave it? Once treated I'll prime to protect it but I think the frame is eventually a candidate for powder coating.

Worst case - has anyone ever had a frame builder replace a tube? The rest of the frame is sound but has nicked paint. A full 531 frame seems like it would be worth this effort but I don't have any idea on the cost.
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Old 03-20-11, 11:17 PM
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I wouldn't reach for a dremel tool. I would remove any bubbling paint to expose the rust underneath. Naval jelly will stay in place where it is applied and works effectively, especially with a wire brush. The rust might look worse than it really is. I recently cleaned up a Mercian that looked really, really bad but the rust was only superficial.

I used a combination of oxalic acid bath, naval jelly and a wire brush.
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Old 03-21-11, 07:52 PM
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Pics of damage

I added some pictures of the blistered areas showing the cable guides and underneath. I also added a shot of the bike. Took it for a ride today and it rides really nice - worth fixing.
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Old 03-21-11, 09:17 PM
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Rust blooms look more dramatic than they often turn out to be. I'd remove the paint and rust in the affected areas and see what the underlying tube looks like before making any drastic decisions.
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Old 03-21-11, 09:39 PM
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It looks dramatic and ugly, but superficial. The problem is what to do after you expose and remove the rust. Matching paint is a PITA in my HO. How do you feel about top tube pads?
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Old 03-21-11, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
It looks dramatic and ugly, but superficial. The problem is what to do after you expose and remove the rust. Matching paint is a PITA in my HO. How do you feel about top tube pads?
I might try to mask that tube off and spray it with something kind of close so I can ride it this year or maybe just prime it to protect it and strip the frame until I can get it powder coated. There are lots of nicks on the stays anyway. I just hope I can get it good and clean around the guides. Someone told me Trek used to drill the tube and pop the guides on but I'm not sure on that.
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Old 03-22-11, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker View Post
I might try to mask that tube off and spray it with something kind of close so I can ride it this year or maybe just prime it to protect it and strip the frame until I can get it powder coated. There are lots of nicks on the stays anyway. I just hope I can get it good and clean around the guides. Someone told me Trek used to drill the tube and pop the guides on but I'm not sure on that.
No; that was only done on the non-ferrous frames.

Your 620 has brazed-on brake cable guides.
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Old 03-22-11, 01:11 PM
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Once you get it cleaned up with navel jelly Or OA Go to your local auto refinishing store and purchase Glazing compound, it will fill in any pits and sands to a smooth finish then repaint.
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Old 03-22-11, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Spookeay Bird View Post
Once you get it cleaned up with navel jelly Or OA Go to your local auto refinishing store and purchase Glazing compound, it will fill in any pits and sands to a smooth finish then repaint.
Spookeay, can you suggest a specific brand or two as a starting point? When I read "Glazing compound", something like DAP 33 Window Glazing compound came to mind.

edit: Ah, I see! Bondo or 3M Spot putty.

Last edited by jebejava; 03-22-11 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 03-22-11, 05:12 PM
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The 400 I'm currently working on was that bad if not worse in the same areas. I chipped off the scale and treated it with some neutralizer. It'll get blasted and powdercoated after that. I won't have any qualms about using it as my daily rider unless I find holes when I blast it.
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Old 03-22-11, 06:07 PM
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Piece of cake.

Sand it a little bit and use naval jelly to remove the rust... sand with 400 grit wet sand paper. Now repaint, the color is not that hard to get but since looks like it is one tube, the top one. WHat you can do is find the closest or maybe a lighter tone of metallic blue and paint over the the paint u have already so the bike gets two tones, the original and the new one.

As for the paint, sand the tube and get rid off all the imperfections, once is ready, apply some primer sealer so the old blue doesnt come up and apply the new blue in the tube, sand again, apply clear coat, sand... polish, Done. Car paint obviously.

Good luck.
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Old 03-22-11, 07:46 PM
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Just wanted to say that is one luscious bike

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Old 03-22-11, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jebejava View Post
Spookeay, can you suggest a specific brand or two as a starting point? When I read "Glazing compound", something like DAP 33 Window Glazing compound came to mind.

edit: Ah, I see! Bondo or 3M Spot putty.
I'm sorry. I've been in restoration for 30 years now and some times I come across as non-shallot. Your first time body work will be kind of scary and confusing. This is the brand I use religiously. Stay away from Bondo brand products. You will find polyester filler in any shop but you will rarely find a can of Bondo. If you need any help let me know or PM me, will be gald to help on matters of refinishing and body work.
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Old 03-22-11, 10:28 PM
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Thanks!
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Old 03-23-11, 07:38 AM
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+1 with spooky... polyester is the way to go, thanks for the tip did not know that one. I have used a 2 part mixed polyester that have worked awesome in a friends bike small imperfections (dents). Not a single problem with polyester.
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Old 03-23-11, 09:35 AM
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dedhed - thanks for the encouragement. It is good to know there is hope! Is your 400 531 tubing also? I wonder what the reason some of their bikes have this issue with the TT only?

Thanks to all for the advice and suggestions. We are currently getting a few inches of snow on top of some nasty ice from last night so looks like a good weekend coming up to hunker in the garage and start to work on it. I'll post some more pics as I move along. Sorry about the shot of my messy work area this time!

If I can find a decent color match I may get ambitious and go over some of the other areas that are pretty nicked up. It will buy me some time before a powder coating decision. The bike is shorter than my usual 23" frame size preference but the fit isn't bad with the longer stem and it does have a sweet ride from my one opportunity thus far. I originally bought it for a fix and flip but I have a real problem parting with good touring bikes. Not knowing if I can justify hanging on to it makes it a hard decision on how much I invest.
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Old 03-23-11, 09:42 AM
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Done using bio degradable oxalic acid; you can pour it onto your lawn after you're done.
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Old 03-24-11, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Servo888 View Post


Done using bio degradable oxalic acid; you can pour it onto your lawn after you're done.
Servo888 - Did you mix the two products 1:1 or a different ratio?
Thanks
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Old 03-24-11, 04:11 PM
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I suspect my bike was saw heavy trainer use and was sweated on. Guy I bought it from had to cut the stem out and the rims had very little brake wear. It gets soaked in salt water, but you don't think to wipe it down like riding in the rain.

Yes, 531 main tubes on the 400
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